Harvard's harriers face their second tough opponent of the season at noon today in a dual meet with vastly improved Cornell. The meet will be in Franklin Park, half an hour after the freshman start.
Both teams have three men closely grouped at the top, and both have a bit of a gap between their third and fourth men. It appears, however, that the Crimson's drop-off is less severe, and this may make the difference.
Harvard's Tom Spengler, Bob Seals, and John Quirk have run well in practice this week and should be tough to beat on the Franklin Park course. "Personally, I'm very encouraged with how this week has gone," Seals said Thursday night in the Quincy House library. "I think we're going to be right on top of those guys."
The runners he hopes to be on top of are Jon Anderson, Don Alexander, and Phil Ritson. When the Crimson trounced Cornell last fall, Anderson and Alexander were their team's top finishers, tying for seventh.
In that meet, Ritson collapsed after three miles, so any small chance of a Cornell victory was ended. He is likely to be going out fast again today, but Harvard cannot count on another collapse.
Anderson is a much bigger threat this fall after an ambitious summer training program out West. He and Spengler may stage a great personal duel.
Behind Harvard's top men are George Barker, Tom New, Jeff Brokaw, and How?e Foye. Normally, they could be counted on to sew up the win, but Barker and New have both been suffering from colds this week, while Foye has been bothered by a heel injury.
Nevertheless, it is unlikely that they will be outrun by Cornell's middle men. Sophomore Tim Cahill was beaten by New, Quirk and Barker in last fall's freshman meet. Dave Oertel is another Cornell depth man who will be hard pressed to finish high.
The Crimson's Mike Koerner, the team leader at pre-season camp, plans to run despite a bad foot ailment. But his effectiveness will be limited.
So far, the Big Red has won all three of its meets with ease. But the opponents-Hartwick, Syracuse, and Colgate-are hardly teams that inspire awe. Ritson missed the Hartwick meet because of a pulled muscle, but he appears to have recovered.